Nowadays, cryotherapy is among the most prevalent treatment options utilized in athletic training rooms across the country, and rightfully so. Studies have shown that the use of cryotherapy during baseball games improved pitch speed, exertion and recovery, while other studies have proven the use of cryotherapy after athletic performance can help reduce the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness. Although a good ‘ole bag of ice may be a tried-and-true method, there are plenty of other options to choose from on the market today. In order to determine the optimal way to execute cryotherapy treatment, we must first look at how the practice is currently used in athletic training rooms and the need that it serves.
How cryotherapy is being used in athletic training today
In a study compiled in 2016, researchers surveyed athletic trainers across the country to gage their current usage of cryotherapy in their daily practice. While the jury is still out on concrete data to support important factors such as establishing a therapeutic goal, the appropriate treatment time, the proper use of a barrier or how the modality should be held in place, the study did shed some light on current protocols and preferences within the industry. These insights included:
- 49% of athletic trainers surveyed chose Game Ready® as the modality of choice.
- 43% chose to treat the patient for 16-20 minutes.
- 81% of those surveyed who chose to use an icepack would do so without a barrier.
- 40% of those who chose to use an icepack would do so with elastic wrap, while 38% would use plastic wrap.
- Of the given cryotherapy technique options, 34% (the highest percentage) chose ice immersion paired with cryokinetics.
- Most athletic trainers that said they would choose another form of treatment instead of cryotherapy would use manual therapy (massage and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization) (Hawkins, Hawkins 2016).
The future of cryotherapy for athletic trainers
While all of this data is important to measure the market, it only adds to the fact that athletic trainers and the athletes they work with need a quick, safe and easy-to-use method of cryotherapy to implement into their daily routines. A product that meets all of these requirements and more is Biofreeze, a topical analgesic that has been a staple in pain relief for over 25 years. Using Biofreeze instead of ice in the athletic training room can positively impact athletics in a number of ways:
- Biofreeze is incredibly simple to use.
- Whether you rub it, roll it or spray it on, Biofreeze takes only seconds to apply and begin working.
- Biofreeze can be applied whenever and wherever
- Because the product is exceedingly portable, it can be applied in the training room, on the field or on the bus. Gel, roll-on, and spray applications all fit in your kit! No freezer required.
- Biofreeze has been proven to be more effective, comfortable and longer lasting than ice.
- The facts don’t lie! Read this particular study covering a direct comparison of the two methods.
- Biofreeze reduces arterial blood flow to the applied area faster than ice.
- Check out the abstract here for more information.
- Biofreeze is more practical than ice for both athletic trainers and athletes.
- Using Biofreeze instead of ice saves time for athletic trainers, while athletes are freed from having to sit in the dining hall or classroom with soggy bags of ice strapped to their bodies. It’s a win-win!
However, if you’re still more privy to the traditional use of an ice bag, consider trying out the TheraPearl line of hot and cold packs. These malleable packs take the classic bag of peas to the next level by utilizing the unique Pearl Technology®. Each pack delivers cold therapy for the doctor recommended 20 minutes with no need for a barrier between the pack and the skin. Not only is every size is small enough to pack in a kit or an athlete’s bag and stuff in a cooler or freezer on the road; each pack comes with elastic straps to hold it in place, making the entire line of TheraPearl products more convenient, portable and accessible than the traditional ice bag.
At the end of the day, everyone wants a better and simpler way to get the job done. Using Biofreeze or TheraPearl instead of ice does just that by providing a compact, trustworthy and successful method of cryotherapy and pain relief that everyone can be confident in using. To learn more about how to get Biofreeze and TheraPearl into your athletic training room and kit, contact your distributor for detailed sizing, pricing and product information.
Hawkins, Hawkins 2016. Clinical applications of cryotherapy among sports physical therapists. Int J Sports Phys Ther. Feb;11(1):141-8.